Florida Governor, Tribe Up Against Deadline For Sports Betting

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) made what some consider to be his final offer to the Florida Seminole Tribe last night, according to the Miami Herald, in an effort to increase gambling operations — including sports betting.

Highlights of the proposal include:

  • The Tribe would run sports betting operations in the state;
  • The state would approve, without objection from the tribe a major casino in Miami;
  • The Tribe would resume its payments to the state.

The Tribe however rejected the offer, according to the Herald, because of money. It wanted a bigger share of the pie from revenue from sports betting. 

Neither side is giving up, but the clock is ticking.

Any changes made to Florida gambling law must first go through the Florida Legislature. But time is winding down on any action this year. The last day of the 2021 session is 16 days away on April 30.

“Negotiations and discussions with the Tribe are still ongoing at this time,’’ state Sen. Travis Hutson (R), chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee told the Herald.

Heavyweight Pressure For Gambling In Florida

DeSantis and tribal leaders have been meeting behind closed doors in recent weeks, trying to come to a deal.  

DeSantis wants the tribe to resume payments totaling $350 million annually that it ceased paying a few years ago when then-Gov. Rick Scott allowed increased gambling operations in the Sunshine State.  The tribe owns six casinos and was the only game in town before the rules changed. 

The tribes for their part want more money coming their way from the profits at casinos, especially if the state approves non-tribe-run casinos. The state is under pressure to do just that from heavyweights including Super Bowl Champion quarterback Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former President Donald Trump

Other Players Interested In Florida Sports Betting

Florida has a rich history of horse racing.  But industry stakeholders are opposed to increased gambling operations in the state — casinos or sports betting — because they worry it will take away their already decreasing revenue. 

On Monday a Senate committee advanced legislation that would allow casinos to operate table games without having a horse racing component

The committee also passed legislation establishing a Florida Gaming Commission that would ultimately have control over state gambling laws. The commission would have members appointed by the governor.

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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